Brief Introduction to Relinquishing Rituals
Updated: Oct 15
Wherein relinquishing is a participial modifier. Wherein the rituals are of relinquishment. To participate in a ritual of relinquishment may necessitate relinquishing other, pre-existing, often subconscious and unquestioned rituals. The ritual of seeking the blue light of my phone during a moment of pause. The ritual of performing “busyness,” of subconsciously justifying my presence in society through productivity quotient. The ritual of comporting my body to the normative wills of those with whom I have been taught to seek league. Rituals such as these may have to be relinquished as one engages in Relinquishing Rituals. Rituals such as those afore-suggested may begin to dissipate of their own accord through one’s active participation in relinquishing rituals.
Or not. This is an experiment. And as all experiments, the performer knows nothing of the outcome, and ought not attempt to control it. Here is an online log of what’s conducted in the laboratory of the self-called “rushi” and at times nicknamed “rush” as in “roosh.” Insofar as attachment to this named entity seeks to influence the outcome of these experiments, as any primary investigator may unfortunately be prone to do, this self may also need to be relinquished, to allow room for new permutations to emerge. And so, perhaps too, this “rush” may need to be relinquished, may need to be allowed to relinquish itself. Into what? Participation in something as-yet-to-be defined. Something perhaps un-nameable. Or perhaps not. What becomes of the poem uttered, alone, to the ocean, without being written down. Tell me of its futility.
I have spent my life following the desires I internalized as a boy growing up in the largely white suburb of Sylvania, Ohio. Those desires necessitated a comportment befitting of the white norms around me. To overcome my brownness, I learned polity, how to talk sports, how to hide the smell of my clothes after my mom fried puris. I learned how to blend, mime speech patterns, and make fun of my Indian-ness to dissolve into the easeful laughter of white friends around me. I learned my place in the racial hierarchy of America—as model minority cudgel used to perpetuate anti-black racism, indigenous erasure, and xenophobia. These habits have been so internalized that they persist without effort today.
My insistence on bringing some of these relinquishing rituals outdoors into places of varied levels of exposure, is an effort to shake myself free of these self-imposed restrictions. Let me be unabashedly, not Indian or brown, but fully myself in the white spaces of Dunedin. Let me participate in this land embodying my varied whakapapa and lineages that span the globe from India to Ohio to Michigan to Colorado to New York to LA to Aotearoa. By acting (in public) in concert with the fullness of myself I hope to learn about the place I inhabit and the places and positions I have inhabited. Let me listen and in listening hear how to better lean towards my responsibility to people (human and animal) and place, self and things, inheritance and future.